American Football Database
Sam Wyche
No. 15, 14, 17
Personal information
Born: (1945-01-05) January 5, 1945 (age 77)
Atlanta, Georgia
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High school:North Fulton (Georgia)
Career history
As player:
* Wheeling Ironmen (1966–1967)
As coach:
* South Carolina (1967)
(Assistant coach)
  • San Francisco 49ers ( 1979 1982)
    (Assistant coach)
  • Indiana (1983)
    (Head coach)
  • Cincinnati Bengals ( 1984 1991)
    (Head coach)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( 1992 1995)
    (Head coach)
  • Pickens High School (2002–2003)
  • Buffalo Bills (2004–2005)
  • Pickens High School (2006–2008)
  • Pickens High School (2011–present)
    (Offensive Coordinator)
  • Career NFL statistics
    Passing attempts:222
    Passing completions:116
    Passing yards:1,748
    QB rating:79.6
    Player stats at
    Head coaching record
    Regular season:.440
    Player stats at PFR

    Samuel David Wyche (born January 5, 1945) is a former American football player and current coach at Pickens High School in South Carolina. Wyche is a former player and former head coach for the Cincinnati Bengals and quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers. Perhaps best known for introducing the use of the No-huddle offense as a standard offense (as opposed to use at the end of the half), Wyche's greatest achievement as a head coach was leading the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII, which they lost to the 49ers 20–16, relinquishing the lead with only 34 seconds remaining.

    Wyche's 64 wins with the Bengals were the most by a coach in franchise history until October 30, 2011, when he was surpassed by Marvin Lewis.

    Wyche also played for the Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, and St. Louis Cardinals. He also coached at the University of South Carolina and Indiana University, and for the San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Buffalo Bills.

    Playing career


    From 1963 to 1965, Wyche played college football at Furman University as a quarterback He was also an initiated member of Kappa Alpha Order fraternity.

    He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University and his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of South Carolina.[1]


    From 1966 through 1967, Wyche played for the Wheeling Ironmen of the Continental Football League.

    He signed with the American Football League expansion Cincinnati Bengals for the 1968 season, when he started three games and also served as backup to John Stofa and Dewey Warren. In his rookie season, he completed 35 passes in 55 attempts (63.6 percent) for 494 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 12 times for 74 yards (a 6.2 average) and caught one pass for five yards.[2]

    In his second season, 1969, he played in seven games, again starting three, as Bengals rookie Greg Cook eventually assumed the starting role. For the season, Wyche completed 54 passes in 108 attempts (50.0 percent) for 838 yards and seven touchdowns. He rushed 12 times for 109 yards (an 8.9 average) and one touchdown.[2]

    He continued to play for the Bengals as they entered the National Football League in 1970 as part of the NFL–AFL merger. He played in all 14 games, once again starting three, with 26 completions in 57 attempts (45.6 percent) for 411 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed 19 times for 118 yards (a 6.2 average) with two touchdowns.[2]

    From 1971 to 1973, he played for the Washington Redskins, who appeared in Super Bowl VII. Although playing in eight games during those two seasons, he did not attempt a pass.[2]

    In 1974, he played for the Detroit Lions, with only one pass attempted. In 1976, Wyche played for the St. Louis Cardinals, completing one pass in one attempt.[2]

    In 1988, Sam Wyche was inducted into the American Football Association's Semi Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Coaching career

    University of South Carolina

    In 1967, while at the University of South Carolina to receive his MBA, Wyche was an assistant coach for the Gamecocks.

    San Francisco 49ers

    Wyche was an assistant coach and directed the passing game for the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1982. He was on the coaching staff of the 1981 team that won Super Bowl XVI.

    Indiana University

    In 1983, Wyche was the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers.

    Cincinnati Bengals

    Wyche was hired as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1984. In his first three seasons, his teams finished second each time before the team collapsed in 1987 with a 4–11 record. An early indication of how disastrous that 1987 season would be came in the season's second game, a home matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. Leading 26–20 and having possession of the ball in the final minutes, the Bengals failed to run out the clock, which allowed the 49ers to run one play from the Bengal 25. That turned out to be a touchdown pass from Joe Montana to Jerry Rice to give San Francisco a stunning 27–26 victory.

    However, the next year, he led the Bengals to their second Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl XXIII, in which the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Bengals 20–16, with a last-minute 49ers touchdown deciding the contest.

    Known as an emotional coach, he bonded well with his players and occasionally collided with superiors when neither would yield. His ongoing feud with former Houston Oilers head coach Jerry Glanville was best exemplified in late 1989, when the Bengals scored early and often in a 61–7 thrashing although no one remembers a feud. He stoked the flames of the Cleveland–Cincinnati intrastate rivalry with several antagonistic comments and unexpected play-calling.

    Wyche is known as the "Always Innovative Sam Wyche" by Norman Chad, as well as the nickname, "Wicky Wacky Wyche"[3] for his unconventional play-calling. Wyche introduced the concept of having 12 or more players huddle on the field, then having a few leave the field. This was meant to confuse the defense as to the personnel grouping and give the offense an advantage. This has since been outlawed in the NFL. His Bengals were also the first to use the no-huddle/hurry-up offense as a base offense.

    On December 10, 1989, during a game versus the Seattle Seahawks, Bengals fans began to throw snowballs onto the field in protest of what they believed to be a bad call by the officials. The Seahawks, who were at their own 4-yard line and an easy target from the bleachers, refused to continue until the snowball-throwing stopped, and play was halted by the officials. In order to stop the onslaught, Wyche was given a house microphone to try to calm the crowd. Wyche chided the fans who were doing the throwing, and alluded to the reputation of their in-state rivals, the Cleveland Browns:[4]

    Will the next person that sees anybody throw anything onto this field, point 'em out, and get 'em out of here. You don't live in Cleveland, you live in Cincinnati!

    On December 24, 1991, just three years after the Bengals' Super Bowl appearance, Wyche was fired by owner Mike Brown, who had taken over the team upon the death of his father, club founder Paul Brown, four months earlier. Controversy erupted when the Bengals claimed Wyche had resigned, relieving the team of any future payments, but Wyche stated he was fired.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Wyche was hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as head coach in 1992. He spent the next four years as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he drafted Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, and John Lynch, players who would be key members of the successful Bucs teams under his successors, Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden. Wyche was dismissed at the conclusion of the 1995 season.

    Near the end of his tenure with the Bucs, Wyche participated in a lighthearted pregame promotional piece for NFL Films. At the time, Jimmy Johnson, then the recently dismissed coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was rumored to be heading to Tampa Bay to displace Wyche. During the promo, Wyche was about to address his team when personnel assistant John Idzik ducked his head into the room. He beckoned Wyche out of the room, and instructed him to "bring your playbook." Wyche disappeared, and in walked Johnson wearing a Buccaneers jacket, who then addressed "his" new team, to everyone's surprise.[5]

    Buffalo Bills

    From 2004 to 2005, Wyche was the quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills.

    High school

    In 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2008, Wyche volunteered as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the Pickens High School Blue Flame in Pickens, South Carolina. He helped the Blue Flame get to the second round of the playoffs in 2006. Wyche was a registered substitute teacher in Pickens County schools.

    Head coaching record


    Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
    Indiana Hoosiers (Big Ten Conference) (1983)
    1983 Indiana 3–8 2–7 T–8th
    Indiana: 3–8 2–7
    Total: 3–8
    Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game.


    Team Year Regular Season Post Season
    Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
    CIN 1984 8 8 0 .500 2nd in AFC Central - - - -
    CIN 1985 7 9 0 .438 2nd in AFC Central - - - -
    CIN 1986 10 6 0 .625 2nd in AFC Central - - - -
    CIN 1987 4 11 0 .267 4th in AFC Central - - - -
    CIN 1988 12 4 0 .750 1st in AFC Central 2 1 .667 Lost to San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII
    CIN 1989 8 8 0 .500 4th in AFC Central - - - -
    CIN 1990 9 7 0 .688 1st in AFC Central 1 1 .500 Lost to Los Angeles Raiders in AFC Divisional Round
    CIN 1991 3 13 0 .188 4th in AFC Central - - - -
    CIN Total 61 66 0 .480 3 2 .600
    TB 1992 5 11 0 .313 3rd in NFC Central - - - -
    TB 1993 5 11 0 .313 5th in NFC Central - - - -
    TB 1994 6 10 0 .375 5th in NFC Central - - - -
    TB 1995 7 9 0 .438 5th in NFC Central - - - -
    TB Total 23 41 0 .359
    Total 84 107 0 .440 3 2 .600

    Coaching tree

    Assistants under Sam Wyche who became NCAA or NFL head coaches:

    Broadcasting career

    In 1996, Wyche worked as a sports analyst with Marv Albert on a weekly NFL game for NBC. In 1997, he was promoted to the studio on NBC's weekly pre-game and half-time shows. He worked as an analyst for CBS with Kevin Harlan on the weekly NFL games from 1998 until week 2 in 2000 when his voice gave part way through a game between Miami and Minnesota. Beesley Reece came up from sideline reporting to do color commentary for the rest of that game. He returned to CBS in 2001 where he did the first two games of the NFL season with Gus Johnson, and Brent Jones. In 2006, he was a commentator on Westwood One's NFL Thursday night coverage, with Dick Enberg. Also in 2006, he began working with Tom Werme broadcasting Southern Conference Football for Fox Sports South.

    Personal life

    Sam Wyche and his wife, Jane, have two children, Zak and Kerry, and six grandchildren, Madeleine, Samuel, Ryan, Jack, Caroline, and Thomas jr. He has been a private pilot for many years. He also enjoys golf, tennis, jogging and riding his Harley.[1]

    Wyche underwent a biopsy on lymph nodes in his chest in 2000. His left vocal cord was severed during the procedure, leaving his voice consistently hoarse and scratchy. From 2004 to 2006, he was a volunteer at Pickens High School in South Carolina as a public speaker. He is an amateur magician.[6]

    In the late 1980s, Wyche owned a series of sporting goods stores in Upstate South Carolina called Sam Wyche Sports World.

    Wyche's brother, Bubba, was a quarterback at Tennessee and in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and World Football League (WFL).[7]

    On September 9, 2016 Sam Wyche was admitted to the Carolinas Medical Center's Dickson Heart Unit in Charlotte, North Carolina awaiting a heart transplant due to congestive heart failure.[8] Three days later, a heart was found, and at 3 AM on September 13, Wyche underwent a 4.5-hour transplant operation.[9]

    Political career

    On November 4, 2008, Wyche secured a seat on the County Council for Pickens County, South Carolina.[10] Running as a member of the Republican Party, Wyche defeated Democrat Wesley Burbage for the Pickens seat, by a margin of 6,478 votes to 1,639.[10]

    See also


    1. 1.0 1.1 "Alumnus and Former NFL Coach, Sam Wyche to speak at NLI". Kappa Alpha Order. November 9, 2011.
    2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Sam Wyche".
    3. Heisler, Mark (January 18, 1989). "WYCHE: For All His Effort, He Is Still Known as Wicky Wacky". Los Angeles Times.
    4. Sam Wyche 'You don't live in Cleveland' speech on YouTube
    5. Williams, Charean (September 7, 1995). "Bucs Get New Coach – Not". Orlando Sentinel.
    6. Pierson, Don (September 4, 1992). "Alacazam! Can Sam Work Magic?". Chicago Tribune.
    7. Asher, Gene (August 2005). "Magic Men". Georgia Trend.
    8. Terrell, Katherine (September 9, 2016). "Sam Wyche awaiting heart transplant". ESPN.
    9. Keeler, Scott (September 13, 2016). "Furman Hall of Famer Wyche in recovery after transplant". The Greenville News.
    10. 10.0 10.1 "Stone, Saitta re-elected". The Pickens Sentinel. November 4, 2008.[dead link]

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